To buy stocks, you’ll typically need the assistance of a stockbroker since you cannot simply call up a stock exchange and ask to buy stocks directly. When you use a stockbroker, whether a human being or an online platform, you can choose the investment that you wish to buy or sell and how the trade should be handled.

In this vein, there are two broad categories of brokers to choose from: a full-service broker and an online broker. Below, we discuss how you can use these options to trade stocks on your own. We’ll also talk about a third option: the direct stock purchase plan (DSPP), whereby investors can obtain shares directly from certain public companies.


  • To trade stocks, you’ll often need to use a broker to place your orders on an exchange.
  • A full-service broker, while more expensive, provides expert investment research, advice, and commentary in addition to comprehensive financial planning.
  • A discount broker is a cheaper option that provides basic execution services for investors who do their research and analysis.
  • Today, many online brokers offer commission-free trading along with free tools and screeners, making it easier than ever to trade stocks on your own.

Full-service brokers are what some people see when thinking about investing – well-dressed businessmen sitting in an office chatting with clients. They are traditional stock brokers who will take the time to get to know you personally and financially.

They will examine factors such as marital status, lifestyle, personality, risk tolerance, age (time horizon), income, assets, debts, etc.1 Knowing as much as possible about you, these full-service brokers can then help you develop a long-term financial plan.

These brokers can not only help you with your investment needs but also assist with wealth planning, tax advice, retirement planning, budgeting and any other type of financial advice, where the term “full service” is. They can help you manage all of your current and future financial needs and are aimed at investors who want everything in one package.
In terms of fees, full-service brokers are more expensive than discount brokers, but the value of having a professional human investment advisor on your side can be worth the extra costs

Buying Stocks with a Full-Service Broker

Buying Stocks Online

Online / discount brokers, on the other hand, do not provide any investment advice and are essentially only order-takers. They are much cheaper than full-service brokers because there is usually no office to visit and no certified investment advisor to help you. The cost is usually based on a transaction basis and you can usually open an account on the internet with little to no money.

Once you have an account with an online brokerage, you can usually log into their website and account and be able to buy and sell stocks instantly.
Remember that since these types of brokers do not provide investment advice, stock advice, or investment assistance of any kind, you are managing your investments. The only assistance you will typically receive is technical support. Online brokers (discounts) offer links, research and resources in difficulty that can be useful.

Buying Stocks via a Direct Stock Purchase Plan

Sometimes, companies (often blue-chip firms) will sponsor a special type of program called a direct stock purchase plan.2 DSPPs were originally conceived generations ago as a way for businesses to let smaller investors buy ownership directly from the company. Participating in a DSPP requires an investor to engage with a company directly instead of with a broker, but every company’s system for administering a DSPP is unique.

Participating companies will offer their DSPP through a transfer agent or another third-party administrator. To learn more about how to participate in a company’s DSPP, an investor should contact the company’s investor relations department.

How to Trade Once You Have a Broker

Once you’ve selected your brokerage platform, you’ll want to set up and fund an account earlier than you may start trading. Today, it’s less complicated than ever to hyperlink a financial institution account online and switch funds, or to electronically roll over a current brokerage account to every other firm. You also can pick to make habitual deposits into your brokerage account to grow your portfolio on an ordinary basis.

Once funded, you sincerely want to go surfing or name your dealer to the region a trade. If you don’t understand the ticker of your inventory, it is straightforward to appear it online or through your dealer. When you pick the inventory ticker which you would like to trade, you’ll be met with a fee quote, a hard and fast of records approximately the inventory’s fee and activity.

This will display you the remaining fee at which the stocks are traded, in addition to a bid and a provide. The bid is the bottom fee at which any individual withinside the marketplace will purchase a share (and therefore is the exceptional fee at which you may promote to them).

The provide, or ask, is the bottom fee at which any individual withinside the marketplace is inclined to promote (and therefore is the exceptional fee at which you may purchase from them). The distinction between the bid and provide fees is referred to as the unfold. A narrower unfold commonly suggests that the marketplace for inventory is pretty energetic and liquid. A wider unfold suggests the opposite. After thinking about the fee quote, you could region your order.

Market orders are the maximum simple sort of order and could provide you with instant execution on the winning marketplace fee. A restriction order, on the alternative hand, permits you to set a particular fee at which to shop for or sell. If the fee in no way reaches that restriction level, then the exchange will stay energetic till its miles are canceled.


Many such trades are day orders on the way to stay exact till the cease of the buying and selling day. If you need the order to be energetic simplest briefly, you may rather specify together with your dealer that it’s miles instant or cancel (IOC). Alternatively, in case you need the order to stay under pressure for longer than a day, then you may designate it exactly ’til cancelled. Other situations also can be located on an order, consisting of a stop-loss.

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